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The Mature Traveler

Bargains on the Dalmatian Coast

January 12, 1986|HANK KOVELL | Kovell is a veteran journalist in seniors' interests.

The intense competition among tour operators serving Central European destinations and Yugoslavia in particular is resulting in some attractive travel packages for the mature traveler.

Yugotours, the tour operator for the Yugoslavian government, opened a Los Angeles office in 1985 to pursue the lucrative Southern California tourist market, while Love Holidays and Adriatic Tours, leaders in the middle-European market, have operated successfully in that area for many years.

They are representative of operators who offer low-cost tours for persons who meet minimum age requirements or who are retired.

All three of these operators offer the usual city-to-city combinations of Southern and Central European cities in Austria, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Switzerland and Turkey, with emphasis on cities in Yugoslavia.

An increasingly popular feature permits travelers to remain in one city for several days and to take full- or half-day trips each day or, when preferred, none at all. Meanwhile, travelers retain the same hotel room to which they return each day after touring.

Captivating City

For example, Love Holidays offers a 17-day tour called "The Best of Yugoslavia," which begins in the captivating city of Dubrovnik on Yugoslavia's picturesque Dalmatian coast. After your arrival and check-in, and following an introductory tour of the city, you have six "free" days to select the tours and activities of your choice.

Daily tour options are described in full in a brochure and include trips by bus or boat, half-day or full-day, and range from $7 to $22.50. (Prices may vary a bit with currency fluctuations.) Some tours include lunch.

Under this system not everyone on the basic tour to Yugoslavia will necessarily elect to take the same day-tour at the same time, so travelers are not locked in with their group for the entire trip. Also, it permits the option of local activities on one or more days of choice when the traveler may elect to go hiking, have a picnic, spend the day at the beach, or visit museums, galleries and other sights.

On the second leg of the above tour when the group stays for five days in the northern seaside resort of Opatija, a choice of eight one-day tours includes visits to Trieste and Venice, Italy.

Whether booking tours totally within Yugoslavia or in combination with other European cities, the costs are accurately described by the title of the Love Holidays brochure: "Affordable Europe." The aforementioned 17-day "Best of Yugoslavia" tour, with special prices for mature travelers over 60 or who are retired, is priced from $1,168 to $1,468 per person depending on season. It includes round-trip air transportation on Pan American World Airways from Los Angeles, breakfast and dinner every day, transportation between cities along the Dalmatian coast, first-class hotels all the way, and pleasant extras including a welcome cocktail, arrival briefing, flight bag and travel document portfolio, city tours and guides.

Tour Options

Most tour operators offer longer or shorter tours, and extensions to nearby cities in other countries at moderate cost. For example, an extension of Love's 17-day trip will provide a seven-day visit to Budapest and Vienna, including two meals daily and inter-city transportation for as little as $395 per person.

Another form of relaxed travel to Yugoslavia is simply to remain in one of several cities for one or two weeks.

Yugotours offers what it terms "Prime of Your Life" vacations that provide two weeks in one Yugoslavian city (Dubrovnik, Opatija, Hercig Novi) beginning at $1,005 per person. This includes first-class or deluxe hotel for two weeks and round-trip air transportation from the West Coast.

A full additional week in a choice of several other Yugoslavian cities may cost as little as $105 per person. No meals or tours are included on this plan, although inexpensive local tours are available.

Extended tours are also available, at the end of your visit at moderate cost, to other European cities and countries including Egypt and Greece, Russia, and Vienna/Budapest.

The presidents of both Love Holidays and Adriatic tours are native-born Yugoslavians, and Yugotours is Yugoslavian owned and operated, so travelers can benefit from their expertise. 1986 may well be known as the Year of Yugoslavia because of the low-priced, all-inclusive packages that make travel so easy for the mature traveler.

Broad Spectrum

These travel packages are beneficial in other ways because they offer a broad spectrum of travel to other nearby interesting and historic cities and countries. Full descriptions of tours and cruises that are offered, including all costs, restrictions and available dates, may be obtained without charge from tour operators or travel agents.

Readers are encouraged to compare the free, colorful brochures that are available to determine which package and price are best suited to them.

Love Holidays, 5530 Corbin Ave., Tarzana 91356.

Yugotours, 3440 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1206, Los Angeles 90010.

Adriatic Tours, 691 West 10th St., San Pedro 90731.

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